Trades and roles of our Saxons.
These are the men and women who take up arms come rain or shine to battle there enemies it was crucial to keep themselves trained and ready for battle at a moments notice. For the migration period warriors, their job was to protect their encampments their family's and there possession's.
The warriors Armor and weapons depended on the status and experience of each individual, it ranges from basic kit, i.e tunic and trousers, a spear and possibly a shield. As time goes on your status may become higher within the community, different weaponry and Armour such as mail, swords, axes and war-coats become more easily available.
Women normally filled these roles their duties included making and repairing clothes, as well as the production of yarn and fabrics, they learnt to dye their materials with plants, berries and other organic sources like lichens and fungi. Tablet weaving was one of the many skills they possessed these skills were pasted on from generation to generation. Children would also help with wool carding, spinning as the process could take up to 6 months to be able to make a dress from the raw materials to finished product.
Were the creators and engineers of their time they would smith all sorts of useful tools and even trinkets. But the main purpose of the blacksmiths was to make the tools and implements like ploughs and axes that kept them alive, and spears for hunting a long with eating and cooking utensils , they would also forge great weapons like swords and war spears.
Everything the blacksmith made would be to the same quality whether it was a spear head or eating knife. Forges were small but efficient which was more than enough for a good blacksmith to use in which to heat metals to colors of red orange and even yellow, he would hammer for days maybe even weeks to create these items he would design.
The food they ate was on a seasonal base but they did salt and smoke to persevere their food. As farmers they were able to grow crops for example oat, rye and early forms of wheat along with root vegetables and legumes. They would have also gathered wild fruits, berries that today some of which we would not regard as food and they hunt the wild animals of the time for food skins etc.
Cooking would have been done over an open fire in a cauldron on skillet and a spit, fire pits were also used for longer cooking times.
For refreshments they would drink on a daily bases a form of weak beer as the quality of the water could be suspect. During celebration times they would enjoy such things as mead, stronger beers and lots of feasting.
Leather was one of the most common materials of the period. Which was widely used for many things including clothing, footwear, bags, pouches and water bags. Leather items were highly decorated especially for personal items such as knife and swords sheaths
Tanning skins could be a smelly process as it often included things such as urine, as well as wood bark and other natural materials to obtain the colors they desired.
Saxon doctors were called cunning folk they would normally be one person a woman or man skilled in leechcraft (herbs and cures), some of the plants that were used still grow and are in use today. A lot of the cures consisted of tonics, poltices and compresses, some of these plants used would be on a trial and error basis. In these times there was a big influence from magical and mythical origins or beliefs. Again like most skills it was past down through the generations.
All Germanic peoples coming from northern Europe were excellent woodsmen and were skilled woodworkers. Most early Anglo Saxon building were made of wood most of the tools they used were crafted from wood. Most of their weapons and shields were also made of wood, making the carpenter an important member of the tribe. They also used a machine called a pole lathe which they used to make many items such furniture, bowls and many other day to day items.
Roles for Children
Children were able to do any of these roles and jobs as apprentices or would have followed in their parents footsteps, the children were trained to fight from a young age so they could protect themselves as they would be the next generation and would carry on their family's blood line. Games were still a big part of their lives things like nine men's Morris and play fighting with wooden makeshift swords which was seen as training to their elders. Unlike children of today they were forced to grow up quickly it was vital for their survival.
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